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Technical Is my starter motor going ??

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Talkwrench, Oct 29, 2013.

  1. Are these symptoms my starter motor going?

    37 flathead motor

    Seems to be when the motor is hot it wont crank , trys and dies like a flat battery. If the motor is left and its cool it will start, I can hear a slight struggle but it will. It takes two batteries to start it, again if left so the motor is only warm , once hot even two batteries wont start it.

    I do have a solenoid in the system I checked it by bridging and it clicked and I heard the starter motor try crank. Could this still be at fault?

    All connections seem good and tight, I will still pull one at a time to clean but not hopeful.

    I am taking the battery to be load tested today, but Im sure its fine, I did try another battery with the same results.

    The starter motor should not be old as I was told a new one when I bought the truck last year, maybe only a few years old and hardly used, looks newish. I don't know if it is a 6 volt or 12 volt? truck was converted to 12 volts before I got it, I have been running a 12 volt Alt for a while with no probs.

    Could it be anything else I have not thought of?

    Next question would be how do I remove the starter on one of these if that's the problem ???
  2. racer32
    Joined: Sep 22, 2007
    Posts: 745


    I just went through a similar situation with the starter on my A's banger. New brushes and a quick polish of the armature where the brushes run, and she's spinning like a top on 6V. A rebuilt starter would have been ~150 bucks. New brushes...$15 installed in my bare housing. The joy of hearing my life-long dream car running for the first time...priceless.
  3. manyolcars
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 8,510


    bad connections
  4. If not connections or the battery, then you will have to remove it and open it up, or take it to an electric motor rebuilder.
    Loosen the 2 bolts on the end plate (remove the L bracket if it has one) but do not remove them from the starter. They hold the 3 parts of the starter together.
    Once unscrewed, wiggle the starter until it clears the flywheel.

  5. Saxon
    Joined: Aug 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,157

    from MN

    Make sure that the face of the starter and the block is clean. That is how the starter grounds. Having paint, dirt, and grease may hinder the connection.
  6. woodypecker
    Joined: Jan 23, 2011
    Posts: 300


    I have seen starters with so much crap inside that they were bound up from dirt and rust. It is always a surprise when you open old parts.
  7. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,682

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member Emeritus

    Also might be 12 Volt cables (too small gauge) or burned contacts in solenoid.
    Best test would be a voltmeter, check bat voltage then with engine cranking (or trying to) check voltage where bat cable attaches to solenoid, then at other side of solenoid, then at post on starter.
    If no gauge...clean all terminals, then crank. See if cables get very hot or if noid gets hot...resistance makes heat, and lots of it. Last time I discovered a solenoid with high resistance it took my hand several weeks to heal...
    Starter itself probably does not have serious problems...check bushings, clean everything, replace brushes if they are real short.
  8. Pull hard on the cable where it connects to the starter and make sure the cable end is crimped and/or soldered securely on the end of the cable. If you get a cable too hot a time or two, you will end up with the terminal loose on the end of the cable, which creates more resistance, which creates more heat, which makes it worse until the terminal comes off the cable. Try to crank it and then feel your way from the positive terminal of the battery to the solenoid to the starter--if you feel anything hot to the touch, there is your problem. Also check both ends of the ground cable, make sure the connection is tight at the engine block.
  9. Thanks guys went around and cleaned all connections up last night, didn't see anything bad. I will fire up this arvo and have a feel. The battery checked out ok under load. Can a solenoid cause this problem or do they just not work at all?
  10. Well it fired up [just] and after a run came back tried to start and... Nah weak crank and nothin'. I had my daughter hold the starter on while I checked connections and nothing got hot so I would say for sure the starter motor is shot. Not really sure what do next try and buy the small parts and fix or just buy a new starter, Macs have them going out for $145 at the mo' Im at the other end of the world so not sure what might be easiest in the end if I fall short in small parts. Here's some pics I think it might be a modern style ???

    Attached Files:

  11. oleman
    Joined: Aug 4, 2012
    Posts: 56


    All advice good. But make sure when you remove the starter that you run the ground cable right to the starter bolt. ( cured my hot no start Caddy mill)
  12. Petejoe
    Joined: Nov 27, 2002
    Posts: 11,072

    from Zoar, Ohio

    If this engine is in a 37 Ford then your solenoid is operated by negative ground not a hot wire. Try starting it again but ground the wire going to your starter switch directly and see if it turns over. Those old (grounding type) starter buttons go bad. Bypass it and ground the wire directly. Those old starter solenoids rarely go bad but it is possible. Be absolutely positively certain all connections are tight and making contact.
  13. Petejoe. Its all been modified the solenoid is a standard 12 volt looking thing. Its been running fine this way for the best part of a year, I have been driving it every other day to work , no probs up till now.
  14. If you have an auto-electric shop close by, I'd take it there and have them at least look it over.


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